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How can Congress help small businesses right now during the pandemic?

Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement ManagerMember ✭✭

Thank you for being a part of Small Business Majority's network and for participating in the Community Digest & Discussion!

Our goal is to provide a place for business owners like you to discuss current events and issues that are impacting small businesses across the country. When business owners are able to learn from others in similar situations or gain a better understanding of important small business issues that impact all of us, the small business community at large will benefit. Furthermore, at Small Business Majority, we are always looking for feedback and insights from real business owners so that we can do a better job providing education, resources and advocacy.


Currently, we are looking for feedback around the following question:

With Congress' continued inaction on a new Stimulus Package, it's beginning to look like no deal will be agreed upon before the election. What impact will this have on your business and what do you think Congress should be doing to help small businesses right now?


Comments

  • JSouthernJSouthern President Member

    I think this will have a very big impact on all small businesses. For us, some of our best stores closed their businesses, and the rest of our retailers are ordering smaller qty, meaning its hard for us to cover our overhead. I think the CA government needs to lower taxes for smaller business at this time, and pass some kind of bill preventing eviction for both residential and commercial. I think both the left and right in congress need to compromise better- they both play the partisan game and this is why nothing is being passed through. I do think the unemployment stimulus needs to be rethought- perhaps make the amount people can be eligible for be based on their income, not a random lump sum for everyone. I also think they need to send out another stimulus check to everyone. We only got $1200 in 6 months! What a joke.

  • Luxcreator1Luxcreator1 CEO Member

    Hello and I am a small business owner with 4 locations in the Entertainment and large scale Events Rental business. for 12 years. I need help and immediate direction as I need a SBA loan, I've applied for SBA disaster but it is a small amount and won't assist me in keeping my business open. Can you assist me in how and where to apply for a bigger SBA loan. MY business filed 2019 taxes and reported 4.9 million in revenue, I am a tax payer and have a amazing platform for clients such as Google, Oscars, Emmys, Superbowl, Disney Etc... our industry has stopped for 6 months and I'm in danger of losing my business please help me.

  • SmallBizBrianSmallBizBrian CEO Member

    My company's revenues have decreased more than 50% and our attempt at retaining employees through the PPP has been exhausted. I feel that the duration of this pandemic and the economic restrictions have resulted in a declining recovery for small businesses. Banks are being more restrictive and interpreting our reduced revenues as being poorly leveraged. We know we have a healthy backlog but sustaining through this valley can place us in a position to restrict ourselves from participating fully in a recovered market. We need funds that allow us to take advantage of our awaiting clients. We need to have a second round of PPP to ensure we are fully staffed for the recovery.

  • T_SnowerT_Snower Managing Director Unconfirmed, Member

    Our business will be fine unless there is a further slow down or another shut down. The first round of PPP helped sustain us through the first shut down. What I am concerned about is the lack of action for employees laid-off or furloughed through no fault of their own. As a business owner, paying federal and state taxes, as well as unemployment taxes, and having had one person in 55 years on unemployment, I feel this is grossly unfair, not just to employees, but to their employers, who have done the right thing but may not be able to assist if business conditions deteriorate. Many running for office and in government ask for a $15 minimum wage and talk about a guaranteed minimum income, but now letting some workers, in low unemployment compensation states, try to survive on amounts like $240 week. This is not what I expect of our representatives. I wonder after this letdown how these employees will feel about work when they do return.
    This lack of income for basic needs will also slow the economy, and our businesses, as people will be unable to purchase even necessities, nor pay rent, creating havoc for business and property owners. We need to remember that many of these people work in the travel, hotel, entertainment industries in states where a disproportionate number of jobs are affected. It's not as if there are other readily available jobs in those areas.
    I want our elected officials to do their jobs and compromise on something to help people suffering through no fault of their own. This will also help maintain the economy and us small business owners.

  • loriklorik Owner Member

    I’m a small business in NYC who provides wardrobe and costume supplies to the gamut of entertainment, globally. I’m not happy that I’ve had to amass a boatload of debt to survive, and appalled by the ineptitude and callous cruelty of the Senate, and their failure to provide relief. Airline gets a bailout. Banks get a bailout. Billionaires get bailouts. But entertainment, which contributes 877 billion a year to the economy, and employs 5.1 million arts workers, Not to mention the people who work in the theaters, and in the towns where entertainment provides ancillary employment, gets nothing. There cannot be an economic recovery without an arts recovery. I’m 65 years old, and have worked my whole life, played by their despicable rules, and now I got nothin. Living on unemployment. America has become a disgusting place to be a citizen.

  • DahliaMWexlerDahliaMWexler President Unconfirmed, Member

    I am a small business in the Special Events Industry in CA. Our business revenue has declined 90% despite us pivoting and creating a division to sell our products for home entertainment and offering face coverings as well. Because events have essentially been banned (anything over 30 people) our business is suffering and we anticipate recovery not occurring till mid to late 2021. Without significant assistance from the government we will be forced to close our doors permanently this November. We have suffered through almost 6 months of no revenue and despite having received PPP still are not able to break even or bring back most of our employees. We are confident that when the pandemic is resolved that there will be plenty of business. Our fear is that we will not be there to participate and support our clients. Prior to the pandemic we were doing over $200,000 in business each month and had been in business for 14 years. I would like to see the government offer the Restart Program to anyone in the Live Events Industry that has been dessimated by the pandemic.

  • Brian_SBMBrian_SBM Vice President, Entrepreneurship Administrator admin

    @Luxcreator1 I would look into a traditional SBA 7a loan. If you apply and are approved by the end of this month, CARES provides that six months of payments, interest and fees will be covered. A couple of places I would look include CDC Small Business Finance (cdcloans.com), SmartBiz Loans (www.smartbizloans.com) or Lendistry (www.lendistry.com)

  • Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement Manager Member ✭✭

    @SmallBizBrian Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. It must be incredibly frustrating to have a revenue decrease due to the pandemic and then have banks see that as money being poorly leveraged.

    Your feedback around a second round of PPP is valuable and something our organization is advocating for on Capitol Hill.

  • AMR1AMR1 Director of Operations - Owner Member

    What impact will this have on your business and what do you think Congress should be doing to help small businesses right now? For a change, I think Congress should do their Job. In what planet do employees like Congressmen get to keep their job if they don't perform? As a citizen, I am sick to have to even comment on a site like this one to be heard. Yes, my business will be impacted if we do not get another stimulus, for three reasons,
    1. The opening of the economy is too slow
    2. Industries are slow to award work and that hurts us even more
    3. The original stimulus was intended to be enough if we stay closed for 6-8 weeks not for 6 to 8 months.

    We have kept our employees albeit at reduced hours, but everyone is hurting now. Nancy Pelosi, do your job instead of getting your hair done It will be a better look for you!

  • MyriamKPMyriamKP Owner Unconfirmed, Member
    As an essential business in agricultural food production who used to sell primarily wholesale but had to magically switch over night to retail, the biggest challenge has been the lack of predictability in business today.
    Every element of the business and the food chain can shift or stop overnight without warning. Noone has real answers and everyone is stressed beyond limits. Forebearances and deferments are coming to an end for the majority of individuals and businesses while we tackle fires literally and figuratively around the world. And then there is the hugest unpredictable moment in our history, the election. People are.scared, sales are dropping, assistance is ending and there is a big unknown ahead.
    We all.need to be very conservative as COVID, the weather, schools, the election play out.
    Extending deferments, forebearances, stimulus package and another round of PPP through January would but American on more predictable footing. It may still be Rocky but the big ifs will be passed and we can make decisions based on more predictable evidence and science.
    I fear that without assistance now, the dominoes will begin to fall out of caution, fear, bankruptcy, etc and the momentum will increase. We risk a catastrophic collapse leaving many Americans with nothing left to lose.
    For the long term, in farming, we would like to be able to refinance at a fixed ,low interest rate so that we can make the industry sustainable again. Agricultural margins have become way to thin and yet we are one of the most essential industries in the world, as COVID has shown us.
    Thank you for the opportunity to share
  • Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement Manager Member ✭✭

    @lorik said:
    I’m not happy that I’ve had to amass a boatload of debt to survive, and appalled by the ineptitude and callous cruelty of the Senate, and their failure to provide relief. Airline gets a bailout. Banks get a bailout. Billionaires get bailouts. But entertainment, which contributes 877 billion a year to the economy, and employs 5.1 million arts workers, Not to mention the people who work in the theaters, and in the towns where entertainment provides ancillary employment, gets nothing.

    Thank you for giving us some of your feedback, @lorik. This has been insightful and drives a lot of the work we do here at Small Business Majority. You are right, amassing debt is not how you should've had to survive during this. We hope to highlight stories like yours to show what the impact of inaction actually is for small businesses across the country.

    Happy to connect with you to get more information and work on ways to highlight your story more.

  • Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement Manager Member ✭✭

    @AMR1 said:
    For a change, I think Congress should do their Job. In what planet do employees like Congressmen get to keep their job if they don't perform? As a citizen, I am sick to have to even comment on a site like this one to be heard.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. You shouldn't have to comment on forums or external websites to get your voice heard. However, with Congress' inaction, we are filling the void and making sure to share your thoughts and experiences to make sure Congress (and the general public) understands how businesses are being impacted and what can actually help them. While I know the process and waiting on Congress is frustrating, thank you for sharing your thoughts here @AMR1. They will help guide us in our work to better serve small businesses across the country.

  • jclishamjclisham Owner Member

    We have two independent restaurants. We had to close one the 1st of September and I had to walk away from day-to-day management of the other restaurant and go back to my prior full-time job. Even though my husband is now running the day-to-day, it's a huge pivot and takes away from the business when the person who has been there all day every day now can only pop in for dinner. I still have to do the books, HR, benefits, etc., but I have to find time to do outside of my full-time job and managing on the floor when I'm there.

  • janbreukersjanbreukers ceo Member

    We got an SBA loan (based on 2.5 months) as we didn't qualify yet for a PPP. We're a start-up where the founding members are leaving as much as possible all wages in the company (deferred wages) to create a solid foundation. We're being punished double now for doing so! No PPP, and a loan that needs to be paid back!
    If that's what you call 'helping small businesses' ......
    Now, almost 6 months later, and the market has still not recovered here in CA, the SBA loan money is almost gone, yes we've been living on a shoestring for way too long now / can't afford to give up / too much money invested by now / so some positive action for a change would be nice. And respect for the individual circumstances, instead of treating all small businesses alike.

    There is no uniformity in small business. Diversity is our strength! Respect that!

  • ccombsccombs CEO Member

    The impact for my business would be catastrophic. I am counting on another stimulus package because we have been down for 6 months because San Francisco would not let spas operate. We are running out of the PPP and the ONLY reason we still have it left over is because we waited until the last minute to use it. We knew SF was not going to let us work so we didn't want to use the PPP while we were shut down. The Federal government should have taken all of this into account when they gave us the first stimulus package. This time we need something above and beyond what they think will help. As much as everyone wants to pretend COVID19 is not a killer and is basically gone is as much as it isn't. Small businesses need help and we need it now and our employees need help. They have to pass another stimulus package!

  • rkfirerkfire CEO Unconfirmed, Member
    No one is talking about the existing debt businesses have. We have a 7a loan that is going to kick in next month and with no income how do we pay that back? That MUST be addressed in a new round if stimulus. Our houses guarantee these loans. Even our bank said they are preparing for a horror show next month. Please don't ignore debt.
  • Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement Manager Member ✭✭

    Thanks so much for your insight, @ccombs . The situation in San Francisco is especially important for the future of business operations in the city. We ultimately agree that a new stimulus should be negotiated and rolled out to have businesses like yours.

  • Kevin_SBMKevin_SBM Small Business Engagement Manager Member ✭✭

    @rkfire You are very right about the existing debt business have and addressing it. Thank you for your insight here, especially highlighting your bank's positioning on this. We will continue to keep debt as a part of the conversation.

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